Renfrew Tee is Finished!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The “Renfrew” tee shirt pattern is finished!

 After running four miles this morning, swimming over a half of a mile, and then planting a new shade garden by the side of my house, I decided I better spend the two hours before my sewing class tonight working on my fifth pattern.  I would have never guessed that would have been enough time to actually complete the “Renfrew” tee shirt!  What a productive day I have had!  I decided to wear my new tee shirt to my class tonight so here is a picture of the finished product taken before my class. 

 This pattern was not difficult to follow, and had only a few simple steps.  If you are experienced at sewing with knits, you could easily finish this in a little over an hour (not counting cutting out the fabric) as I did.  If you haven’t sewn on knits before, this pattern would still be a good option for you, but only if you have patience, especially when sewing the band around the neckline (topstitching is required), and attaching the sleeves (which requires a little stretching as you sew).  I would also recommend you use an inexpensive knit for your first try but make sure it is still of a good quality meaning it stretches well (and returns to normal easily after stretching), and it isn’t too slinky.  I used a great inexpensive knit (only $9 a yard) at our store that is a blend of linen and polyester which was great to sew on.

 Now that I know the fit of this pattern and how well it turns out, I’ll make it again out of some of the other patterned knits like the one pictured below.

When I sat down to sew this afternoon, my husband (who is my number one cheerleader in my quest to finish 20 patterns) asked about the project.  I excitedly told him that I was making a basic fitted tee shirt out of a hot pink knit and waited for him to praise my great idea and fabric choice (which is usually what occurs).  Instead, he looked incredulously at me and said, “Why would you spend time to sew a tee shirt?  Can’t you just go to the J. Crew Outlet and get a ton of them for $10 each?”  My excitement deflated like air leaving a balloon when I realized I had no good explanation for his innocently posed question.   Why would I sew a tee shirt?  It did feel kind of stupid once I considered his point.  So, I told him that I would save my response to his practical and realistic question after I was done.  I wanted to see if the finished tee shirt was actually better than I could buy for myself, but mostly, I just needed time to think of all the reasons someone would want to sew a basic fitted tee shirt instead of buying one.
Here is what I concluded:
1)       This tee shirt has a band around the bottom which makes a basic tee look a little more dressed up.  That means this will be perfect for me to wear to work when I want to be comfortable but still look professional.  The band around the bottom is also flattering for covering up a belly better than a completely fitted tee shirt if that is a concern for you.
2)      It is difficult to find tee shirts other than solid colors.  I can now make tee shirts out of all the great patterned knits we have at our store! 
3)      I can make a tee shirt out of bamboo which feels absolutely amazing.  I have no idea where I would buy a bamboo shirt. 
4)      I love wearing ¾ length shirts in the Fall and even in the Summer when the air conditioning in many places freezes me!  I have trouble finding them so now I can just make them.
5)      I will have greater satisfaction wearing a shirt I made rather than if I wear another cheaply made, outsourced shirt from Old Navy!
I am sew happy to have this "Renfrew" tee shirt pattern in my sewing arsenal.  Before long, I really won't have to buy clothes any more! 

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